I’m not saying Japan’s schools are failing or its government doesn’t work, but . . .

by David Safier

It's been more than two years since a tsunami caused six reactor meltdowns and massive radiation leakage at the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster, and the place is still being held together with chewing gum and bailing wire. The reactors are in critical condition, one mishap or geological event away from a second disaster that could be worse than the first.

Surprisingly, no one is spending much time blaming the problems at Fukushima on the undereducated Japanese who weren't able to avert the disaster or fix the problems once they occurred, and we don't hear much about Japan's government being inept. Because, well, we're talking about Japan, not the U.S. Everyone knows Japan's schools are wonderful. In the recent international tests, they scored 4th in Reading, 4th in Science and 7th in Math, unlike the failing schools in the U.S. that came in around 20th place overall. And, well, those Asian countries know how to get things done, unlike our inept, debt-riddled, bureaucracy-laden, Kenyan/socialist-run U.S. government.

But for a moment, let's play the blame game, like it might be played by conservatives if this were a U.S. problem, complete with bold, underlined, all-caps pronouncements.

According to an AP story, Japan lacks decommissioning experts for Fukushima:

JAPAN HAS TO IMPORT EXPERTS TO DECOMMISSION FUKUSHIMA!! EXPERTS FROM THE UNITED STATES AND FRANCE!!

Japan is incapable of safely decommissioning the devastated Fukushima nuclear plant alone and must stitch together an international team for the massive undertaking.

Imagine if the U.S. lacked the expertise to handle its technological messes and had to bring in people from other countries. That would be one more incontrovertible proof that our schools are failing.

JAPAN HAS A FEEBLE ECONOMY!!!

Japan has been forced to import oil and gas to meet its power needs, burdening its already feeble economy.

We've learned from conservative "education reformers" that economic problems are a direct result of poor education. Ergo, Japan's schools are failures.

JAPAN'S GOVERNMENT HAS BUNGLED THE CLEAN-UP!!!

[Japan] must stitch together an international team for the massive undertaking, experts say, but has made only halting progress in that direction.

[snip]

It took until August this year, nearly two and half years after the tsunami, for Japan to set up the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning, to bring together ideas, both inside and outside Japan, on Fukushima decommissioning and encourage communication.

If we've learned anything from our conservatives screaming about Benghazi and the Obamacare website, it's that our government can't do anything right. Government is the problem. I guess that means Japan's government is at least as inept as ours.

And everyone knows, since we're reminded of it so often, all of our economic, social and technological problems are the direct result of our failing schools. So regardless of Japanese students' test scores, the country's schools must be failures.

It's pretty easy. Just choose your scapegoat — the schools, the federal government, Obama — and bend every story to fit your narrative.

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